Looking for a place to start this article and overwhelmed by the weight of the subject matter before me, I do a quick experiment and type “virginity” into Google; I’m curious to see the most popular searches. “Virginity statistics, virginity auction, virginity quotes, virginity pledge” reads the list. The list doesn’t help much except to reestablish what I don’t want this article to be about.
Your whole life, you hear about the milestones that are supposed to change something inside you. For me, they came and went largely unnoticed. Birthdays, first kisses, the loss of my virginity, the first truly random sexual experience I ever had—all left me unmarked and wondering at how it was that I never felt any different. The summer after my senior year of high school, I walked home after sleeping with a man six years my senior and, after years of falling for people too easily, congratulated myself for not feeling anything. I thought that sex could not hurt me and that—to me—was a triumph of self-defense over feeling, one I held on to in the years that followed.
Maybe it’s just the New Jersey weather or the tint of the van’s windows but it seems like it’s always foggy when I drive to Garden State, a sprawling correctional complex whose hallways I’ve walked through without ever really managing to glean the building’s external shape. We always drive towards it from the same side. Inside the hallways shoot off from rounded enclosure where the guards sit like identical grayish-beige spokes from a wheel. Sometimes it’s hard to find my way out because everything looks the same.
Last night there was an enormous raccoon prowling through the dumpsters in Wilson. The girl I was walking with recoiled, but I was sympathetic—ever since I joined the free food listserv I often feel like a nocturnal creature rummaging through … Read More